Nine children among at least 55 dead after Kenyan night bus crash

Kenyan police and other rescuers attend the scene of a bus crash near Kericho in western Kenya  (AP Photo/Washington Sigu)
Kenyan police and other rescuers attend the scene of a bus crash near Kericho in western Kenya (AP Photo/Washington Sigu)
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Fifty-five people were killed when their bus left the road, rolled down a slope and crashed in western Kenya.

The roof of the bus was ripped off in the crash.

Around 15 survivors from the bus that had been headed from the capital Nairobi to the western town of Kakamega were receiving treatment yesterday at a hospital in Kericho, Rift Valley regional police boss Francis Munyambu said.

The accident occurred around 4am and nine children were among the dead, he added.

Kericho County police commander James Mugera said: “The information we have is that the driver lost control.”

The bus was not licensed to operate at night and its owners will faces charges, regional traffic police chief Zero Arome said.

“It is very unfortunate what has happened and action will be taken,” he added.

Kericho governor Paul Kiprono Chepkwony said the hospital was in dire need of blood for transfusions as most survivors needed surgery.

The bus was carrying at least 70 passengers, some standing.

A male survivor was reported as saying the driver was not following traffic rules, but he chose not to raise his concerns because the bus crew would have beaten him up.

He described the bus crew as “very arrogant”.

Kenya has struggled to reduce the rising number of road accidents as more people in the growing middle class acquire vehicles.

According to government statistics, around 3,000 Kenyans die every year in road accidents.

The World Health Organisation said Kenyan roads were among the most dangerous in the world, claiming around 29.1 lives for every 100,000 people, according to the 2015 Global Status Report on Road Safety.

In 2013 the government re-introduced breathalysers, but had to remove them again after court orders barred police from charging drivers based on readings from the devices.

In an article for the Elephant online publication in November, commentator Patrick Gathara criticised the government’s “knee-jerk responses such as the banning of night buses, enforcement of speed limits, seat belts and speed governors on public transport vehicles”.

“Reactionary legal measures are quickly announced in the aftermath of a particularly horrific crash, with little research, forethought or long-term planning, and just as quickly forgotten,” Mr Gathara wrote.